United Way 2-1-1; Voices for the common good

By Chris Cooper - ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

If you have ever been down on your luck and did not know where to turn for help, then you can understand the necessity for what United Way of Southern Kentucky is trying to do by implementing the 2-1-1 program into our area.

The 2-1-1 program is a free information and referral service for callers of all ages and circumstances including families, parents, seniors, veterans and low-income individuals. The 2-1-1 program is a powerful resource for help and hope in any community. It is the place to call for help when you don’t know where to go for help. At the end of the phone line, there is a compassionate person saving a life, transforming a family or changing a community… one phone call at a time. 2-1-1 is core to the mission of United Way and integral to community impact.

Debbie Hills, Chief Operating Officer for United Way of Southern Kentucky, along with 2-1-1 Director Norm Wheeler attended the Tuesday, March 8 meeting of the county’s fiscal court to present the 2-1-1 program, as well as ask for financial support of $15,000 annually to bring 2-1-1 into Logan County.

United Way of Southern Kentucky is a charitable non-profit entity serving a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work. United Way of Southern Kentucky has been an intricate component in Logan County for years, raising funds that go right back into the community to help those who need help the most. Partnering with numerous industry, businesses and individuals, United Way of Southern Kentucky is a valuable resource for the 10 county area of BRADD.

The 2-1-1 program is already nationwide, with Kentucky being one of the few states that doesn’t allow for a large percentage of it’s citizens access to the program. This is unacceptable and embarrassing, said Hills.

Every day thousands of people across North America turn to 2-1-1 for information and support- whether financial, domestic, health or disaster-related. 2-1-1 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people from all communities and of all ages to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The needs are growing year by year,” said Hills.

United Way of Southern Kentucky is concerned about the solution to the root causes of the issues seen over and over in our communities. Because of this they developed a three-pronged research plan, designed to reach out into the 10-county area and seek impute from as many people and resources as possible through a survey, community conversations and secondary data. One of the most identified issues received back was where to go for help.

The 2-1-1 program can be accessed by phone or computer. A toll-free call to 2-1-1 connects you to a community resource specialist in your area who can put you in touch with local organizations that provide critical services that can improve and save lives.

You’ll find information about: supplemental food and nutrition programs, shelter and housing options and utilities assistance, emergency information and disaster relief, employment and education opportunities, services for veterans, health care, vaccination and health epidemic information, addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs, reentry help for ex-offenders, support groups for individuals with mental illnesses or special needs, and a safe, confidential path out of physical and/or emotional domestic abuse.

Whether in times of natural disaster or personal crisis, 2-1-1 is committed to being the first, most essential resource to anyone who needs help.

Hill asked the Logan County Fiscal Court to help support the 2-1-1 program. The hub would be located in Bowling Green and would house highly trained service professionals to answer the calls. Hill said the project has already received a grant for $55,000 to help with infrastructure and start-up costs. They will be searching for additional funding opportunities in the future as well. Budgetary needs are anticipated at between $140,000 to $150,000 annually.

Hill says they expect within the first year to answer between 6,000 and 7,000 calls with that increasing by the third year to 24,000 calls.

Although the magistrates listened intently to the presentation, Judge Executive Logan Chick reminded the court a decision would be better closer to when the county would plan out its 2016-2017 budget.


By Chris Cooper


To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

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